Casey Anthony's lawyer says Anthony could be in danger if she's required to return to Florida this week to meet with a probation officer -- telling Matt Lauer, "The last thing we wanna do is put Casey in harm's way."
Attorney Jose Baez appeared on "Today" this morning ... and explained, "We have an issue of safety." He was not specific about the potential threat.
Earlier this week, Judge Stan Strickland ordered Anthony back to Orlando to begin probation for a 2010 check fraud conviction. Baez believes the judge is exceeding his authority by requiring Anthony to return to Florida because the Department of Corrections already certified that she completed her probation.
But around the same time Baez appeared on "Today" -- Judge Strickland officially recused himself from the case ... but did not give a reason for his decision to step down.
No word on who will replace Strickland --or if that person will enforce his order requiring Casey to return to Florida.